At that time, Commander of Infantry Pavel Dmitrievich Tsitsianov - Astrakhan Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army in Georgia, commanded Russian troops in the Transcaucasus. Tsitsianov as the commander of the Russian troops was not chosen by chance. Coming from the noble family of Georgian origin, Pavel Tsitsianov was the son of Prince Dmitry Pavlovich Tsitsianov and Elizabeth Bagration-Davydova. He participated in many wars with Turkey and Persia, in the pacification of the Polish uprising, was the commandant of Baku after the first surrender of the city to the Russians in 1796 year. He was an experienced and courageous military leader, who also understood the political situation in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia and was able to find a common language with the local elite, where it was necessary to be tough and where it was necessary to be diplomatic.
8 June 1804, a detachment of Russian troops under the command of Major-General Sergei Alexandrovich Tuchkov moved towards Erivan, and on June 10 forced the Persian horsemen to retreat. 19 June 1804, the main Russian forces commanded by General of Infantry Pavel Tsitsianov approached Erivan. The next day, they utterly defeated the army of Persian Prince Abbas Mirza, the former Shah governor in Iranian Azerbaijan. Then the Persian positions on the river Zange were captured, after which on July 2 besieged the Erivan fortress. To the aid of the besieged city, large Persian forces headed by Feth Ali Shah Qajar commanded.
For the needs of the Russian troops besieging Erivan, food was required. The prolonged siege of the city significantly affected the state of reserves of Tsitsianov’s army supplies, especially since all the environs of Erivan were devastated by the raids of the Persian cavalry and there was simply no place to take food supplies. The main reserves of provisions of the Russian army at that time were in Tiflis, but the distance to Tiflis was very large, so Tsitsianov ordered to transport the supplies closer to Erivan. By this time, the Russian garrison was stationed in the city of Karaklis (now Vanadzor), since the city had a strategic importance as a base for Russian troops operating in Transcaucasia. The garrison stood in Karaklis even before the start of Tsitsianov’s campaign against Erivan, and was commanded by major Joseph Montresor. About this man, the feat of which we will highlight in more detail below, it should be said especially.
The surname of Montresor went back to the French aristocrat Claudius de Bourdale, comte de Montresor. In the 18th century, his son came from France to the lands of the Commonwealth. Later, the Montresors appeared on the list of noble families of the Kursk and Kiev provinces. Like most noble families, Montresors gave the Russian Empire a lot of professional military. The father of Joseph Montrezor, Major Anton Montresor, served under the command of Alexander Suvorov. He had three sons - Anton, Simon and Joseph. Joseph Antonovich Montresor was born in 1767 year. During the service of Suvorov, Anton Montresor was close friends with Major Semyon Stavraki - adjutant of the legendary commander. After the death of Anton Montresor in battle, Major Stavraki adopted his three sons - Anton, Semyon and Joseph. Then the brothers were enrolled in the Corps of foreign co-religionists, and after his graduation became officers of the Russian army. Joseph Montresor received the rank of ensign and was enlisted in the army. He participated in the siege of Anapa in the 1791 year, then participated in the Caspian military campaign of 1796-1797. Everywhere a young officer left the best impression of himself.
Then Joseph Montresor was surrounded by General Tsitsianov, who noticed a capable officer. In 1801, Montresor led the garrison of Karaklis, which by then consisted of two companies of the Tiflis Musketeer Regiment. This was, given the strategic importance of the position of Karaklis, the appointment to a very responsible position, which could be trusted only to an experienced and capable commander. Later, Montresor distinguished himself in the storming of Ganja 3 in January 1804, after which the Ganja khanate was incorporated into the Russian Empire. For the courage shown during the storming of the fortress, a young officer, Joseph Montresor, was prematurely promoted to the Majors, becoming the battalion commander in the Tiflis Musketeer Regiment.
When General Tsitsianov began a campaign against Erivan, he recalled the brave and talented officer, Major Montresor, who commanded the detachment stationed in Karaklis, and took him with him. Another officer was put in charge of the Karaklis garrison - Major Khadzhaev, who commanded the battalion of the Saratov regiment. But Khadzhaev was not up to par. He allowed the Persian detachment to penetrate into the vicinity of Karaklis, which seriously hampered the delivery of food from Tiflis to besieged Erivan. General Tsitsianov became aware of the commotion of Major Hadzhaev, who decided to rectify the situation by sending a young Major Montresor there. He was tasked to arrive in Karaklis and ensure the advancement of carts coming from Tiflis to the walls of besieged Erivan. Under the command of Montrezor was allocated a small detachment of Russian troops. It consisted of the 4 officer, the 108 musketeers of the Tiflis Musketeer Regiment, the 1 scorer with a light unicorn gun, and the 11 Armenian volunteers. In addition to Major Joseph Montresor, the detachment included officers lieutenant Vladislav Ladygin, ensign Anisim Cerets and ensign Mikhail Vereshchago. A squad of Montresor stepped into the dangerous 14 August 1804 of the year. Although initially it was assumed that the detachment would reach Karaklis within three days, the duration of the journey increased. Every now and then musketeers had to repel the attacks of the Persian cavalry. On the morning of August 16, in the region of the Aparan River gorge, the Persians attacked the detachment for the first time, but were driven away. Saved the best weapons and excellent training of Russian soldiers.
The Tiflis regiment was one of the oldest units of the Russian army, formed and operating in the Caucasus. By the time of the Erivan campaign, the regiment numbered almost eighty years of existence. It was formed 26 February 1726 g. - originally as the Kura Infantry Regiment as part of one grenadier and 7-musketeers company, then changed many names before 29 March 1801 g. Was renamed the Tiflis Musketeer Regiment. It was a very efficient part of the Russian army, constantly located in the combat zone in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia.
For six days the detachment went to Karaklis, periodically driving away groups of Persian horsemen, who nevertheless did not dare to attack the detachment, fearing rifle fire. 21 August 1804, a detachment of Montresor crossed the pass and descended into the valley of the Pambak River, where an ambush was waiting for him - 6-thousandth Persian army, commanded by the Persian commander sarhang (sarhang - the rank of colonel in the Persian army) Mansur and the Georgian prince Alexander, who was found by the governor. the Persians. Alexandra Feth Ali Shah wanted to make King-controlled Persia of Georgia - after he freed Georgia from the Russian troops. Six-thousand Persian army exceeded the detachment of Montresor by almost fifty times.
It should be noted that the Persians, not wanting to fight, first offered the Russian detachment to surrender. Tsarevich Alexander sent a messenger to Major Montresor with an interesting, from the Persian point of view, offer to surrender and go to the Persian service, promising a good salary. But Montresor refused. After that, he called the Armenian volunteers to accompany the detachment, and allowed them to surrender or leave, citing the fact that the Armenians did not swear allegiance to the Russian emperor and did not have to die for him. But the volunteers responded to Montresor that the emperor is far away, and he (the commander) is close, and therefore they swear allegiance to Major Montresor. Of course, both the major and all the officers and musketeers of the detachment, and the Armenian volunteers perfectly understood that this battle would be the last for them. But Major Montresor wanted to give the Persians such a battle so that they would remember forever what Russian warriors are. He was able to properly disperse his squad in a narrow gorge, which made the musketeers difficult prey for the fifty-times greater number of enemies. Although Joseph Montresor was seriously wounded almost immediately after the start of the battle, he continued not only to command, but also to personally participate in the battle. All the time, over the battlefield, the regimental drum of the Tiflis Musketeers Regiment was tirelessly booming. When the drum stopped, punched by a bullet, Montresor called the Armenian Avag and the drummer Ivan Pilipenko and ordered them to leave the battlefield and get to the location of any Russian squad to tell about the battle that the Tiflis Musketeers gave to the Persians.
Less than forty people remained when the wounded Montresor called out to them that he was no longer their commander, and they could surrender or leave the battlefield and save their lives. But none of the musketeers and volunteers did not follow his proposal, preferring to die in battle. Musketeers and Armenian volunteers rushed to the last bayonet attack on the Persians. Most of the musketeers died and only 15 people with severe injuries were captured.
The courage of the Russian soldiers was struck by the Persian commander Sarhang Mansur. He allowed Armenians from the surrounding villages to collect the bodies of the dead Russian soldiers and officers and bury them in a common grave. The war continued ... 4 September 1804, due to heavy losses and problems with support, Russian troops were forced to lift the siege of the Erivan fortress and retreat to Georgia. 14 September 1804, the retreating Russian troops were on the site of the last battle of Major Montresor. Here, on the personal order of General Tsitsianov, a monument was erected with the epitaph “Traveler, stop and take your hat off with respect. Do not go indifferently by the light marble burial, which records the name of one hero, whose deeds will ensure the immortality of his memory. ” Unfortunately, in 1827, the monument was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in 1837, as instructed by the Caucasian governor, Count Vorontsov. In the 1918 year, during the “parade of sovereignties”, the monument to the heroic Russian and Armenian soldiers was destroyed. It was restored only in the 1978 year, already under Soviet rule. The feat of the Montrezor squad was remembered on the 150 anniversary of Armenia’s entry into the Russian Empire.
The commander and patron of the heroic Major Montrezor, General of Infantry, Pavel Tsitsianov, was martyred. He had friendly relations with Khan of the Baku Khanate Khusein-Kuli, who was still at the end of 1790. decided to go to Russian citizenship, seeking to enlist the support of Russia in the confrontation with numerous opponents. Then Hussein Kuli changed his mind, as the Russian command clearly made it clear that Baku should be occupied by Russian troops. However, at the beginning of 1806, troops under the command of Tsitsianov laid siege to Baku. Hussein Kuli seemed to have agreed to Tsitsianov’s conditions and promised to surrender Baku to the Russian troops.
8 February 1806. Infantry General Prince Pavel Tsitsianov and Lieutenant Colonel Prince Elizbar Eristov arrived at the walls of the Baku Fortress. Khan Hussein-Kuli came out to meet Tsitsianov, demonstrating complete friendliness. But at that moment, when the khan handed over the keys to Tsitsianovu fortress, a shot rang out. Someone Ibrahim Bey, who shot a pistol, killed Tsitsianov. Immediately dealt with Lieutenant Colonel Eristov. Tsitsianova was beheaded, which was captured and later sent to the Persian Shah. The Russian army, which lost its commander, retreated from Baku. But in October 1806, the arrival of the Russian army laid siege to Baku. Khan Hussein Kuli fled to Persia, and the Baku Khanate was annexed to the Russian Empire.
In 1808, fighting resumed. The Shah of Persia did not succeed in expelling the Russians from Transcaucasia and restoring the old order. October 12 1813 was signed by the Gulistan Peace Treaty, according to which Persia recognized the rights of the Russian Empire to Eastern Georgia, Northern Azerbaijan, Imeretia, Guria, Mingrelia and Abkhazia. In addition, Persia agreed with the right of the Russian Empire to keep a navy in the Caspian Sea.
The feat of Major Joseph Montrezor’s detachment still remains among the most vivid manifestations of the heroism of Russian soldiers and officers. Armenian volunteers who chose loyalty to duty and the honor of surrender showed themselves to be excellent warriors.